Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Last year I did a post on judicial writing, leading it off with the opening quote from Chief Justice Roberts dissent from the denial of certioari:
North Philly, May 4, 2001. Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a threedollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He'd made fifteen, twenty drug busts in the neighborhood.
With a hat tip to Suits & Sentences, it seems that other judges have picked up on this fad: this opinion for the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Services begins, "There was something odd about the electric razor in the bedroom," and proceeds in noirish fashion to recite the facts in a case in which one soldier had secretly set up a camera to record a female soldier's activities in the bathroom. The blog's author suggests how this might have been done in other historic opinions:
William Marbury was mad. Boiling mad. He wanted his commission, and he wanted it now. But he had a problem...
The chad was hanging like a thief at dawn...
Lost in the shuffle is the fact that the opinion is a truly horrible one. A few years back in Georgia v. Randolph the Court held that a consent by one co-tenant was invalid if the other tenant was present and objected to the search. Here, the husband refused to consent to the search of his house; when he tried to call a lawyer, agents confiscated his cell phone and took him to a holding cell. They then asked his wife, who'd been in a separate room, whether she'd consent, which she did. No problem, says the court, on the theory that Randolph required the husband to be present and objecting at the time the wife gave consent, and he wasn't. Technically. Or something.
You might want someone in the holding cell with you when you talk to your new client. Courtesy of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch comes this story, and the opening paragraph is all you really need to know:
A defendant who sent a blood-smeared letter threatening to harm his court-appointed lawyer if he did not withdraw from the case did not lose his right to a new court-appointed lawyer, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has decided.
Fifty ways to leave your lover. While Ohio long ago abolished alienation of affection lawsuits, several states haven't, as indicated by this story of a North Carolina woman winning a $500,000 verdict against her husband's new wife. Seems hubby, aged 69, had taken up with a woman less than half his age, resulting in the breakup of a 30-year marriage; it took the jury only half an hour to reward the ex-wife with half a million. Overlawyered has some helpful notes on the subject: Wisconsin makes it a criminal offense to even threaten such a lawsuit, while states which still retain such laws might allow imposition of liability on friends or family who encourage a spouse to hit the road.
Bullshit lawsuit of the week. Only in California:
San Diego lawyer and the Oakland Athletics baseball organization have settled a class-action lawsuit over a Mother's Day weekend giveaway of free plaid reversible bucket hats.
The more than $500,000 settlement stems from a lawsuit filed three years ago by Alfred Rava in Alameda County Superior Court. Rava accused the Oakland A's of sex discrimination after he did not receive a free plaid reversible bucket hat during a promotion at A's game May 8, 2004.
The suit, filed on behalf of all men who were denied the reversible hats, asserted discrimination occurred because the hats were given only to women. Rava also included Macy's department stores, which sponsored the giveaway, in the suit.
Reminds me of the best line I heard this week: "It's too bad that 90% of lawyers give the other 10% a bad name."
See you on Monday.